Biotechnology in the 21st Century: Prospects and Promises

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5 Δεκ 2012 (πριν από 4 χρόνια και 6 μήνες)

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Biotechnology in the 21st Century:

Prospects and Promises


Parul Chakrabarti



Bose Institute and Bengal Tuberculosis Association

Kolkata, India

parulchakrabarti@hotmail.com




Biotechnology

: key technology for the
future


At

the

turn

of

the

21
st

century

biotechnology

(including

gene

technology)

is

seen

as

the

key

technology

for

the

future
.

It

is

not

a

new

science,

but

comprises

a

series

of

strategies

and

methods

for

the

study

and

use

of

the

genetic

make
-
up

of

organisms

and

the

relevant

biological

functions
.


Modern

biotechnology

is

therefore

a

scientific

and

technical

development

trend

which

is

at

the

beginning

of

its

technological

and

economic

life

cycle
.



What is biotechnology?


Traditional Biotechnology


Use

of

technologies

based

on

living

systems

(plants,

animals,

or

microbes)

to

develop

commercial

processes

and

products

or

improve

existing

species
.


Modern Biotechnology



Modern

biotechnology

refers

to

the

application

of

(
1
)

in
-

vitro

nucleic

acid

techniques,

including

recombinant

deoxyribonucleic

acid

(DNA)

and

direct

injection

of

nucleic

acid

into

cells

or

organelles,

or

(
2
)

fusion

of

cells

beyond

the

taxonomic

family

that

overcome

natural

physiological,

reproductive,

or

recombination

barriers

that

are

not

techniques

used

in

traditional

breeding

and

selection
.



Gene Technology




It

is

the

sum

of

all

methods

for

the

isolation,

characterization

and

selective

modification

and

transfer

of

a

genetic

make
-
up
.

Gene

technology

is

therefore

used

in

fundamental

research

as

well

as

in

commercial

biotechnology
.

Examples of ancient biotechnology (2,000
-
4,000 B.C.) :



beermaking


winemaking


breadmaking


cheesemaking


improved species of crops and animals by cross pollination
or cross breeding


Examples of modern biotechnology (20th century) :



Isolation

of

the

antibiotic

penicillin

from

the

mold

Penicillium

(Alexander

Fleming

,
1928
)



Genetic

engineering
:

Insertion

a

piece

of

toad

DNA

into

the

bacterium,

E
.

coli

(Herb

Boyer

and

Stanley

Cohen,

1973
)
.


Insulin,

erythropoietin

(blood

production

factor),

interferon

alpha


Biotechnology

on

the

World
-
Wide

Web


Why Biotechnology is so important in the
21st century?



Global population increase :



In 300 years it has grown 11
-
fold (500 million to 5.5
billion).



It has doubled in the last 40 years.



Between 1990

& 2010 is expected to grow by 33%.


Increase in economic & resource use and decline of
resources availability:




Economic output increased 5 times




Oil use has grown 6 times




Industrial wood products has doubled and is now matched in


volume by the use of wood for fuel




Use of water has tripled




Gap between affluent and poor people has doubled




Fish catch is predicted to increase by 20% and on a per capita


basis, it will be a 10 % decline




There will be 17 % more irrigated land and a 12% per capital


decline




Cropland will increase 5% and there will be 21% per capital


decrease




Pastures will increase 4% for a per capita decline of 22%




Cropland and pasture will come from forests which will decline by


7% for a per capita reduction of 30%


Problems




Resource depletion




Environment pollution




Health hazards


Biotechnology can provide quantum leap in
solutions for all the challenges ahead.



Sub
-
disciplines of Modern Biotechnology


The

science

of

biotechnology

can

be

broken

down

into

sub
-

disciplines

called

red,

white,

green,

and

blue
.



Red biotechnology


involves

medical

processes

such

as

getting

organisms

to

produce

new

drugs,

or

using

stem

cells

to

regenerate

damaged

human

tissues

and

perhaps

re
-
grow

entire

organs
.


White (also called gray) biotechnology


involves

industrial

processes

such

as

the

production

of

new

chemicals

or

the

development

of

new

fuels

for

vehicles
.



Green biotechnology


applies

to

agriculture

and

involves

such

processes

as

the

development

of

pest
-
resistant

grains

or

the

accelerated

evolution

of

disease
-
resistant

animals
.



Blue biotechnology

rarely

mentioned,

encompasses

processes

in

marine

and

aquatic

environments,

such

as

controlling

the

proliferation

of

noxious

water
-
borne

organisms
.


How does biotechnology impact your life?



Medical biotechnology (Red biotechnology)




Forensics: (Ex: O.J. Simpson case in USA)




Genetic testing: identify known genetic diseases




Pedigree analysis: paternity disputes, bird


migrations, poaching




Drug discovery , drug resistance .


How does biotechnology impact your life?



Industrial biotechnology (white biotechnology)




Production of key industrial chemicals


ex: Acetone, butanol, acetic acid plastics etc.



Modification of household products: enzymes used in
detergents



Bioremediation: cleanup of toxic wastes like TCE
(trichloroethylene), PCB (polychlorinated biphenyls), oil


and coal waste (ex: NEIST programs)


Production of human pharmaceuticals:


(ex: Insulin, erythropoietin (blood production factor),
interferon alpha)


How does biotechnology impact your life?



Agricultural biotechnology (Green biotechnology)



Use of recombinant DNA derived products in foods: cloned rennin
or chymosin was approved for cheese making in 1990



Production

of

genetically

modified

foods
:

Calgene's

"Flavr

savr“

tomato

was

modified

to

delay

the

softening

process,

first

genetically

modified

food

to

be

sold

commercially




Generation of herbicide tolerant plants by genetic engineering, e.g.
resistance to the herbicide Roundup(ex: soya )



Phytoremediation
:

use

of

plants

to

remove

toxic

metals

(cadmium,

zinc,

lead,

etc)

from

soil




Degradation

of

pesticides/waste

from

coal

and

oil

insdutry

by

bioremediation




Use

of

naturally

occurring

pesticides,

Bt

toxin

from

Bacillus

thuringiensis




Use

of

recombinant

DNA

products

in

animals
:

injection

of

recombinant
-
derived

bovine

somatotropin

into

dairy

cattle

for

increasing

milk

production




How does biotechnology impact your life?



Marine Biotechnology (Blue Biotechnology)


Marine

biotechnology

has

demonstrated

its

potential

across

a

broad

spectrum

of

applications

that

range

from

biomedicine

to

the

environment
.


Natural

products

have

had

a

crucial

role

in

identifying

novel

chemical

entities

with

useful

drug

properties
.


The

marine

environment,

with

its

enormous

wealth

of

biological

and

chemical

diversity

represents

a

treasure

trove

of

useful

materials

awaiting

discovery
.



A

number

of

clinically

useful

drugs,

investigational

drug

candidates,

and

pharmacological

tools

have

already

resulted

from

marine
-
product

discovery

programs


Some Examples of Commercially Available Marine Bioproducts

Product

Application

Original Source

Pharmaceuticals

Ara
-
A (acyclovir)

Antiviral drug (herpes
infections)

Marine sponge,
Cryptotethya cryta

Ara
-
C (cytosar
-
U,
cytarabine)

Anticancer drug
(leukemia and non
-
Hodgkin’s lymphoma)

Marine sponge,
Cryptotethya cryta

Molecular Probes

Okadaic acid

Phosphatase inhibitor

Dinoflagellate

Manoalide

Phospholipase A
2

inhibitor

Marine sponge,
Luffariella variabilis

Aequorin

Bioluminescent calcium
indicator

Bioluminescent jellyfish,
Aequora victoria

Green fluorescent protein
(GFP)

Reporter gene

Bioluminescent jellyfish,
Aequora victoria

Some Examples of Commercially Available Marine Bioproducts

Enzymes

Vent and Deep Vent DNA
polymerase (New
England BioLabs)

Polymerase chain
reaction enzyme

Deep
-
sea hydrothermal
vent bacterium


Nutritional Supplements

Formulaid (Martek
Biosciences)

Fatty acids used as
additive in infant formula
nutritional supplement

Marine microalga

Pigment

Phycoerythrin

Conjugated antibodies
used in ELISAs and flow
cytometry

Red algae

Cosmetic additives

Resilience (Estée Lauder)

“Marine extract”
additive

Caribbean gorgonian,
Pseudopterogorgia
elisabethae

SOURCE: Adapted from Pomponi (1999).

Product

Application

Original Source

Evolutionary Biology: Technology for the 21st Century


Evolutionary biology has implications to a new century of
medicine, agriculture, biotechnology, and even law.


Evolutionary biology is central to the development of :



drug/chemical compounds for medical and industrial use


(Ex : polio vaccine)



methods for tracking pathogens, i.e., infectious diseases



molecular epidemiology



data that reveals relationships among organisms

Some agricultural methods depend on evolution


Ex:Artificial selection of crop strains and livestock breeds


Evolution mechanisms made possible the polio
vaccine


Bacterial

resistance

to

antibiotics

is

an

evolutionary

phenomenon
.


Evolution

helps

us

track

pathogens

and

improve

medications



Can Modern Biotechnology Be Used to Enhance
Food Security?


Use

of

modern

biotechnology

techniques

in

agriculture

has

been

referred

to

as

the

"doubly

green"

or

"gene

revolution,“

(Ex
:

wheat

revolution

in

India

by

Dr
.

Swaminathan)

pointing

to

the

possible

benefits

of

using

such

technologies

in

meeting

the

world's

future

food

needs
.

However,

the

majority

of

current

GE

crops

consist

largely

of

export

cash

crops


(ex
:

corn,

soybeans,

and

cotton)

as

opposed

to

more

nutrient
-
dense

crops

found

in

the

developing

world

(ex
:

cassava,

millet,

pulses,

bananas,

beans,

and

squash)
.


Adoption

of

GE

crops

in

the

developing

world

could

result

in

increased

farmer

dependence

on

chemically

based

pest

control

methods

and

replacement

of

many

local

indigenous

crop

varieties
.



How

to

solve

the

problems

of

global

malnutrition,

hunger,

and

food

insecurity?


BENEFITS OF BIOTECHNOLOGY


Biotechnology

so

far

used

in

medicine,

biological

&

biomedical

research

and

in

recent

years

in

agriculture

and

in

food

processing,

in

the

environment

field,

regeneration

of

raw

materials,

cosmetics
.

A

number

of

other

sector

will

probably

be

seen

in

the

next

few

years
.


Modern

biotechnology

has

had

the

greatest

impact

on

the

development

and

production

of

new

medicines

and

new

diagnostics,

vaccines

and

other

biomaterials

(Example,

the

blood

production

factor

erythropoietin

has

become

vital

for

tens

of

thousands

of

people

suffering

from

kidney

disorders
.

Interferon

alpha

is

being

used

successfully

to

treat

certain

kinds

of

cancers

and

jaundice
.



Interferon for the treatment of certain types of cancer and for reliable
AIDS tests.



Identify

hereditary

illnesses

(cystic

fibrosis),

genetic

predispositions

to

diseases

i
.
e
.

colon

cancer,

development

of

artificial

organs

,use

of

organs

from

genetically

modified

animals

for

transplants

(xenotransplants)
.


GENOMICS


human genome project and benefits


The

Human

Genome

Project

(about

3

000

million

characters)

is

often

described

as

the

Manhattan

Project

of

Genetics

started

in

1996

and

completed

in

2005
)

This

project

is

compared

with

the

drawing

up

of

the

periodic

table

of

chemical

elements

(

100

elements)

from

1869

to

1889
.




The

Genome

Project

is

of

capital

importance

for

the

future

of

the

pharmaceutical

industry,

Of

the

30

000

illnesses

that

we

know

of

today,

only

a

few

thousand

can

be

treated
.

However,

large

sections

of

the

population

are

affected

by

100

to

150

of

these

illnesses
.



Genomics

opens

up

completely

new

horizons

for

treatment
:

approximately

3

000

to

10

000

new

gene

targets

will

be

revealed

by

decoding

the

human

genome

and

by

the

subsequent

functional

analysis
.


Personalized medicine will be possible soon.

INFECTIOUS DISEASES


AIDS or malaria. Anti
-
HIV drugs are already in use.


Resistance

to

drugs

is

also

increasingly

a

problem

owing

to

the

accelerating

use

of

antibiotics
.

More

and

more

pathogens

have

become

immune

to

many

antibiotics
.



Tuberculosis

is

a

global

problem

with

2

billion

people

(
1
/
3
rd

of

the

world

population)

infected

with

latent

infection,

12

million

new

active

cases

annually,

and

about

2

million

death

every

year
.

WHO

declared

it

as

global

emergency
.

If

not

identified

and

treated

in

time,

it

can

be

fatal
.

It

is

mainly

a

problem

of

the

developing

countries
.


Owing

to

their

rapid

multiplication

and

genetic

plasticity,

micro
-
organisms

can

adapt

sometimes

within

weeks

to

an

environment

containing

antibiotics
.


Pharmaceutical research is therefore engaged in a race against
pathogens.



FOOD


In

the

course

of

this

century

biotechnology

has

made

great

progress

in

food

production

and

processing
.



Artificial

reproduction

techniques

in

cattle

breeding

have

boosted

the

trend
.



The

influence

of

modern

biotechnology

with

regard

to

animals,

plants

and

food

processing

differs

from

one

application

sector

to

another
.


“Transgenic

animals”

can

be

fed

more

efficiently

and

produced

with

less

fat

by

use

of

growth

hormone

genes


PLANT BREEDING


Gene

technology

has

made

the

greatest

progress

in

this

area
.

The

cultivation

of

over

two

dozen

genetically

modified

plants

has

been

authorized

worldwide
.

This

number

will

increase

sharply

in

the

coming

years
.


Modified

plant

quality

with

increased

nutritional

content

or

shelf

life

Ex
:

famous

anti
-
mush

tomato

known

as

Flavr
-
Savr

with

more

shelf

life

does

not

rot

so

quickly

as

its

untreated

predecessor
.


Resistance

to

weed

killers
.

Round
-
up,

has

ecological

advantages

over

other

herbicides
.

But

food

plants

such

as

soya

are

also

sensitive

to

Roundup

and

have

died

when

treated

with

this

product
.



Transgenic

soya

plants

now

have

an

additional

resistance

gene

enabling

them

to

survive

treatment

with

Round
-
up
.

PLANT BREEDING


Resistance

to

pests
.

Several

per

cent

of

the

world

harvest

is

lost

to

pests,

whether

viruses,

fungi

or

insects
.

It

is

possible

to

make

crops

resistant

to

such

pests

by

modifying

them

genetically
.

Thus

maize

plants

are

protected

against

an

insect,

the

maize

pyralid,

and

potatoes

against

certain

viruses
.



Modified

agronomic

characteristics
.

The

aim

is

thereby

to

produce

crops

that

can

be

grown

on

land

with

a

very

high

salt

content,

or

in

very

dry

and

warm

regions
.


Transgenic

plants

such

as

maize,

soya

or

rape

have

a

better

field

performance

than

the

traditional

varieties
.


The

agro
-
food

industry

forecasts

annual

growth

rates

in

the

next

few

years

of

40

per

cent

in

the

sale

of

genetically

modified

seed
.


FOOD PROCESSING


Traditional

biotechnology

techniques

are

often

used

today

in

food

processing

(

for

vitamins,

antioxidants,

sweeteners,

etc
.
)

curdling

of

milk

with

rennet

enzyme

chymosin,

additives

or

sweeteners

such

as

vitamins

and

aspartam

produced

in

genetically

modified

micro
-
organisms
.




Modern

biotechnology

is

mainly

influencing

the

development

and

production

of

new

technical

enzymes

and

additives
.


Genetically

modified

bacteria

for

processing

food

(yoghurt,

cheese,

kefir,

etc
.
)



which

for

example

can

protect

themselves

against

virus

attacks,

secrete

strawberry

flavor

into

yoghurt,

make

cheese

mature

more

quickly

or

ferment

light

beer



are

now

being

studied

and

developed

in

laboratories

and

pilot

facilities
.


ENVIRONMENT / RAW MATERIALS


Environmental

protection

has

assumed

great

importance

in

the

course

of

the

last

decade
.

Biotechnology



alone

or

combined

with

chemical

and

physical

methods



provides

approaches

to

solutions

for

a

series

of

environmental

problems

with

regard

to

the

provision

of

energy

and

raw

material

production,

waste

treatment,

remediation

of

contaminated

sites,

preservation

of

biodiversity

etc
.


Recombinant

organisms

(‘‘specialists’’)

i
.
e
.

genetically

optimized

organisms

adaptable

to

new

environmental

conditions

for

several

generations

would

be

the

most

desirable

strains

for

the

purpose

(ex
:
Pseudomonas

strains


oil
-

eating

bug,

AM

Chakrabarty,USA)

BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS


Gene

technology

is

also

used

in

military

laboratories

that

study

and

develop

biological

warfare

agents

or

test

defensive

strategies

(
e
.
g
.

vaccination)
.



Agents

can

be

made

more

resistant

and

available

for

military

use

through

gene

technology,

so

that,

for

example,

they

will

survive

a

bomb

explosion
.

BIOELECTRONICS / NEUROINFORMATICS


Bioelectronics

is

a

relatively

young

and

interdisciplinary

science

bordering

on

bio
-
chemistry,

bio
-
physics,

molecular

biology,

biotechnology,

nanotechnology

and

microelectronics
.


Neuroinformatics

is

the

term

used

to

describe

a

special

discipline

which

has

emerged

from

the

interaction

between

neurobiology

and

informatics
.


Bioelectronics

and

neuroinformatics

have

a

vast

scientific

and

technological

innovative

potential
.


Biosensors

are based on the direct coupling of a biologically
active component, the signal transmitter, with a signal
converter (transducer).


Various

bio
-
molecules

will

serve

as

electronic

components

and

will

be

used

to

produce

biochips
.

Medical

diagnosis

and

monitoring,

environment

and

food

analysis,

and

biological

process

checks

are

the

current

and

possible

future

fields

for

biosensor

applications
.

RISK FACTORS AND SAFETY GUIDE LINE


Our

main

concerns

are

the

impact

on

human

health

(infections,tumours,

allergies,

poisoning,

greater

resistance

to

antibiotics)

and

on

the

environment

(new

kinds

of

weeds,

ousting

of

other

species

from

an

ecosystem,

impairment

of

biodiversity,

poisoning

of

animals)
.


Proper

safety

guidelines

are

required

to

be

formulated

and

universally

accepted
.


Ultimate aim is to use the technology for the benefit of our
civilization and for the conservation of our animate and
inanimate environment.

Issues to be addressed in Application of Modern
Biotechnology to Food and Agriculture :




the global debate on how to regulate genetically engineered
(GE) foods and crops



cultural differences in public perceptions of GE foods



evaluation

of

selected

GE

traits

against

the

principles

of

social,

economic,

and

ecological

sustainability,

including

the

potential

of

modern

agricultural

biotechnology

to

enhance

global

food

security



conservation of biological diversity



agricultural

technologies

and

broader

political,

social,

and



economic contexts



CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS


GE

crops

were

introduced

first

for

commercial

production

in

1996
.

In

the

future,

increased

public

funding

needs

to

be

directed

toward

agricultural

biotechnology

research

on

nutrient
-
dense

crops

in

the

developing

world
.



Improved

gender

equity

(including

better

access

to

resources)

is

needed

to

achieve

global

food

security
.


Regulatory

policy

and

market

reforms

are

needed

to

ensure

that

modern

biotechnology

is

used

with

consideration

of

the

principles

of

social,

economic,

and

ecological

sustainability
.



Labeling

and

consumer

right

to

know

laws

would

provide

consumers

with

a

choice

as

to

whether

they

wish

to

purchase

GE

foods
.



CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS



Regulatory

policy

and

market

reforms

are

needed

to

ensure

that

modern

biotechnology

is

used

with

consideration

of

the

principles

of

social,

economic,

and

ecological

sustainability
.



Labeling

and

consumer

right

to

know

laws

would

provide

consumers

with

a

choice

as

to

whether

they

wish

to

purchase

GE

foods
.


Future

GE

crops

that

are

developed

and

brought

to

market

should

be

regulated

by

the

precautionary

principle
.



To

become

more

familiar

with

the

technical,

social,

economic,

and

cultural

issues
.


Fundamentally,

climate

change,

food

security,

and,

by

extension,

global

stability,

hinge

upon

the

ability

of

the

human

race

to

support

itself

in

a

sustainable

fashion
.


In

the

21
st

century

Biotechnology

is

envisaged

as

the

key

technology

for

the

future



THANKS